Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team delivered the perfect response to any potential doubters on Sunday when they bounced back to winning ways with fine victory in a captivating Spanish Grand Prix.
After the disappointment of his poor showing in Sochi two weeks earlier, Hamilton was back on form in Barcelona to keep himself very much in touch with rival Sebastian Vettel in this year’s intriguing World Championship battle.
Driving for the Brackley-based team, Hamilton eventually saw off Vettel after a to-and-fro encounter to remain second in the current standings, six points behind his German counterpart.
“After suffering issues in Russia, this was altogether better weekend for me,” reflected Hamilton. “Winning the race was a great boost for and the team and I can now look ahead to the next race.
“In Sochi I can’t explain the problems I had, but in Spain, despite some on-track things, I am happy and now the race for the title is back on again.”
The battle between Hamilton and Vettel was fierce with the duo jostling for the lead throughout. The Brit began on pole before Vettel jumped out in front on lap one but a clever strategy from Mercedes and smart driving by Hamilton saw the three-time world champion claw his way back and eventually take the win.
Daniel Ricciardo secured the final podium placing in third for the Red Bull team.
Sochi winner, Valtteri Bottas, was out of luck at the Circuit de Catalunya, his race ending early when the powerplant of his Mercedes M08 expired after 38-laps of the race.
A disappointed Finn said: “This is a lost opportunity and I have dropped valuable championship points but I know I can fight for more wins and that fight will start at the next race in Monaco.”
Silverstone-based Sahara Force India continued their superb start to 2017 by recording fourth and fifth place finishes with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.
The duo have scored points in every race so far this season, with Perez saying: “Again the team did a fantastic job. The whole team are working towards success and we had another great showing here in Spain.”
Ocon commented: “I am happy with my performance and how things are going. The Sahara Force India team again gave me a great car and to finish fifth was a good result in only my fifth Grand Prix with the team. We are enjoying a really solid start to the season.”
Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat were both also point-scoring drivers for the Bicester-based Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Sainz drove his Renault-powered car to seventh, with Kvyat taking his first points since the season-opening race in Australia back in March.
Kvyat said: “It was good to score points in Spain and I am like all the other drivers now very much looking forward to driving at Monaco. It would be good to obtain another top ten finish around the streets of the principality.”
Next race: Monaco, May 28.